Saturday, May 28, 2005

What's cookin'?

Again, its been a while. I've been busy, what with the release of my school yearbook (that I designed) and getting my progressive metal band together. I've been receiving quite a few calls from musicians who are interested in the project. However, its pretty hard to work with more than one drummer and one bassist and two guitars. Oh, does anyone have any recommendations for band names? We're into progressive rock and metal, with a technical feel as well as some jazz and funk bits thrown in. A lot of heavy riffs, with a generous infusion of melody. Influences: Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Evergrey, Freak Kitchen.
Here are some names I've been thinking of:
  • The Limit
  • The Dust That Settles
  • Synergenetic
  • Chains of Reaction
Bose - The Forgotten Hero / Directed by Shyam Benegal
Nicely made, providing a great insight into the life and struggles of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Apparently, Bose's character was not portrayed powerfully enough (from what many viewers who have read up on Bose tell me). He was far more stern and driven than the film shows. Still, I thought it was quite interesting to hear the story of such a wonderful character. Its people like Bose, who have ambitions strong enough to decide for them their paths in life that strike me. Good show!

Freak Kitchen - Dead Soul Men / Heavy\Experimental Metal
What a brilliant band, and what a marvellous album. Freak Kitchen is refreshingly politically incorrect, witty and amazingly talented. Every song features great songwriting, and the lyrics just get you. Their music is part prog, part straight-up heavy. Must hear: Gun God, Silence, The Sinking Planet

Monday, May 23, 2005

You mean I don't have to have a point to write here?

I'm still watching Bicycle Thief and The Interpreter, and reading Slaughterhouse-Five, so I can't submit a review of any of them just yet. So I'll just talk about the blogging experience.
I can still remember the old days, when blogging had just begun to take the world by storm. "Just a phase, Abe, it'll go away soon. Pah! Who needs blogs when you can just make a website?", I would say. Little did I realise that within a few months, everything anyone said would be replicated on their blogs. Thats right, anyone. And apparently, everybody has something to say. Thats when I jumped on the bandwagon and began blogging myself. And it feels great, to know that I'm putting down thoughts and interesting URLs open for anyone who might be interested, to take a look at (even though I have practically no readers, other than my brother - thanks mate). Besides, its a great way to enhance my writing skills, which I hope I have. I'm glad that I can express myself more or less accurately with words, and this is a brilliant proving ground (proving to myself, that is - I ensure that I maintain a level of quality that keeps me coming back again and again to read my blog).
I've also been reading several other blogs, and I've learned a lot from them, especially about how to improve my own. I'm toying with the idea of trying to promote my blog to get more readers, because I wouldd love to know what people think of what I'm saying (online, at least). I highly recommend blogging as a daily ecercise for the brain. Very good stuff, this. Try it out -> Blogger.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Return of the Green Giant

I'm back, so lets get down to business.
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
This is such a great antiwar book. Vonnegut's style is fabulous, and the book is laced with a whole lot of black humour, reminds me a bit of Sue Townsend and Douglas Adams (RIP). Its so funny, I wish it was titled slaughter houseI'm still reading it though, so expect a synopsis and rating later.

A Perfect Circle - eMOTIVE
What can I say? I must be on an antiwar kick right now, for who knows what reason. Probably coincidence. Anyways, this album is APC's brilliant alternative-rock take on several peace and antiwar songs. Each track has some clever new treatment, some chilling, some brooding, but all fantastic. Special mention - 'Passive' and 'Imagine'. 4/5

Dream Theater - Octavarium
Found it released on Bearshare. No great shakes at all. This album lacks any progressive moments, and really disappointed. What happened to the crazy time signatures and counter-melodies and everything? This sounds like a really good nu-metal album, which is not saying much. However, most of the tracks are catchy, and feature some amazing solos by John Petrucci. 2/5

Page 3 - Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, Starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Boman Irani...
Really tacky dialogues, horrible acting, and very irritating, up until halfway through. Then it picks up the pace, with some neat twists and turns, and eventually the quality improves by leaps and bounds. The ending isn't even the 100% feel-good kind you normally get, so thumbs up from me. 3.5/5

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ray of Light

Jamie Foxx rocks as Ray Charles Robinson in Ray. Superb editing, marvellous acting and a wonderful sense of authenticity about the film just makes one of the best I've seen this year. The depiction is honest, intense and absolutely mindblowing. Foxx steals the show with his scintillating performance that is frighteningly real, and makes seem Ray's character seem sometimes, human, sometimes high-flying, sometimes sensitive and sometimes stoked just the way he probably was. 11 on 10.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Lateral Thinking

Just watched Sideways. I quite liked it, because it featured some great acting, good dialogue, great camera work, and a good storyline. It also has some great comic moments, and it seems to me like they did everything that you would say 'don't tell me they're going to...' to. Good stuff. Next on my watch-list: Ray.

Things to do at night...

My brother just flew out of Bangalore, and is on his way back home to Montreal. That makes the house about 70% more vacant, and leaves me with practically nothing to do. So I got home, and after dinner, tried to keep myself busy by doing the following:
  • Watching 'Page 3' (Madhur Bhandarker) / I'm not done yet, will write about it soon.
  • Testing new Google products and services over at Google Labs. My favourite: Google Suggest (It shows you relevant suggestions to use for your search before you click the button. Great job!)
  • Checked out a fabulous website on my favourite guitarist John Petrucci. See it here.
  • Sent out an invite on Deviantart to several Bangalorean deviants (Deviantart members) to join the group bangaloreans. I'm planning to start a couple of community projects as soon as we get a few more members, and maybe have a live meet somewhere. We had one last year, and it was great fun.
  • Checked out snipurl, a great free service that creates shorter URLs for you to follow. For example, will lead you to this blog. They also have a service that sends you interesting links by email. I signed up.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Up, up and away...

Just watched The Aviator (I'm late, com sue me). Its a wonderful story about a genius, a filmmaker, an airplane enthusiast, a businessman, and a human being with a relentless desire to make his dreams come to life and then some. Leonardo di Caprio truly delivers, with a brilliant performance as Howard Hughes. His portrayal of the driven individual (who I'm surprised I haven't heard of before) is very well done, and brings me to think about who is more eccentric, a run-of-the-mill-nine-to-fiver or Hughes.
I think life should be led the Hughes way, you know. King-size, quarter-mile, pedal-to-the-metal, all-guns-blazing, envelope-pushing. you-get-the-idea. Wish I could do it. Instead, here I am, watching movies on the telly and blogging. Ah, well, someone's gotta do the dirty work.
I was talking to a friend today about trust, and how I don't have any. I just can't trust anyone, its too risky. Everybody's got some hidden agenda or the other (they better, its what keeps them sheltered from the world outside), and its absurd to expect people to be flawless in character. Somewhere along the line things go wrong, and everything just goes up in flames. Right now I have no issues, so I have no need to trust someone with the keys to my skeleton-riddled closet, but still... I think its best I handle things myself.
System of a Down - Mesmerize /
No great shakes, although there a few inimitable moments on this record. Not a fan? Stay away. Pick up their early stuff instead.

Dream Theater - Train of Thought /
Progressive Metal
Tight as hell, very hard-hitting stuff. Great hooks on this one, some marvellous playing by the entire band. But its no
Images and Words. Still worth a listen.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Band baja

Well, I'm at the helm of a new phase of my life... in a real band. I'm still stuck at the helm and will be so becuase the band hasn't completely materialised yet. I've met with a good vocalist (who knows a keyboardist), and am meeting a drummer tomorrow. I'm also in constant contact with an apparently great guitarist, who knows a bassist. I'm really hoping that this works out, because I've got a whole lot of ideas I need to play out, and I've been yearning to write some music and lyrics for quite some time now. Besides, this band will also need a logo and possibly flyers, CD designs and stuff, which I'd be glad to try my hand at designing. Can't wait to see what happens next...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

So much to say/do/hear/think about/write/create...

Well, I'm back... meant to write a couple of days ago, but I've been really busy. My brother Indrayudh is here (and has been since the 25th), so I've been spending some time with him. Kolkata was fantastic. I really enjoyed catching up with my cousins and other relatives, and jamming with the whole family. I don't know what I would do if the rest of them were as musically inclined as they are.
Sikkim was marvellous too. Saw an abandoned fort town, went white-water rafting, stuff like that.Travel really opens you up, makes you feel closer to nature, and hilly places never fail to remind me how small I really am compared to this planet. Its a very calming, inspiring feeling. So much so that I resolved to form a progressive metal band as soon as I got back home. And thats one of the things that have been keeping me busy. Gigpad has a great classifieds section, where I posted an ad and have received a lot of calls about since. I've spoken to lots of people who are interested, and will meet them soon. My only fear is that I may not be good enough for my own band (how lame is that?)... time will tell.
I wrote my first of 3 law school entrance exams on the 1st, which was for National Law School of India University. The competition's really tough, so I don't think its going to work out. I have 2 more on the 14th and 15th, for Symbiosis and NALSAR respectively. Other than this, I'm looking at studying economics or english at some good colleges in Bangalore itself.
Impressing The Whites by
Richard Crasta - Its about how the third world is desperately trying to be white, trying to emulate the western lifestyle, just to get a piece of the unfortunately hypothetical pie of respect that the whites hold. Good stuff.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by
Bill Bryson - A great guide to everything around us, in plain, snappy, and humourous english.

I have a lot of artwork to do, primarily graphic design. Need to finish a piece I've been working on for a while, practice some typography and logo design. More later.